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Agents and renters

By bsdjdct 19 March 2010 71

I’m recently back in the rental market, just selling and waiting to buy and build on ‘to be released land’.

I’ve rented with a company in Gungahlin and couldn’t believe how completely dodgy these agents were and how terrible they treated renters.

My rent ended up being different to what was advertised, something to do with monthly, but I couldn’t work out the monthly amount to be the same as the weekly amount the agent gave me. It ended up being $50 more per week. Didn’t matter which way I calculated it, M – times- 12 – divide by – D – times – 7.. still didn’t work out. When I questioned the agent, of course after I signed the lease.. All she could tell me was “the computer works it out”. I asked her to pull out her calculator and tell me which calculation works it out to be the weekly amount initially quoted.. She couldn’t.

And of course I couldn’t get on to the Rental Tenancy Help Line….. It would be great if they were better funded by the Government.

Anyway, with some maintenance requests not being attended to we decided moved… And the new place isn’t any better. We’re great tenants, waiting for our house to be built and we have to put up with rude Agent representatives…Who treat us like second class citizens because we’re renting….

I wonder, now there is a database for bad tenants, is there one for bad Agents???

What’s Your opinion?


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georgesgenitals 12:14 pm 17 Mar 11

Property managers are an interesting beast – some do a great job, others are worse than useless. Once they start to get behind in resolving issues it’s generally time to ditch them.

If that stuff about LiveIn is for real, they don’t deserve to have a business at all. Thanks for the heads up – I’ll definitely be avoiding them when looking for new property managers for my Canberra units.

cobberas63 11:50 am 17 Mar 11

a lot is two words said :

I was one of the +1s above for LiveIn. Having had my tenants break the lease, smoke in the house, put dog hair throughout my property, leave the house filthy (not dirty, filthy) and countless other issues, I have to reverse my comments and say they have treated my property and me with complete disregard. They couldn’t care less that the tenants broke the lease and damaged the property, left a dirty mattress, ruined furnishings and the list goes on. Very disappointing as I also thought they were a breath of fresh air in a stale property management market. I guess it’s only up until something goes wrong or they don’t think they’re going to get any more business from you.

This is really interesting – I’ve had exactly the same sort of experience as this. As the owner of a rental property, I found LiveIn and Tamara Baxter to be really great at the start – around March 2010. Tamara was pleasant, efficient and mostly did as I asked. I was a bit miffed when she signed up a tenant without first showing me their application and letting me decide, but I trusted her judgment and anyhow the tenant was signed up, and I couldn’t change it.

Then I flagged with them some problems at my property in April (yes Erik – you know exactly who I am!) including evidence that the tenant was smoking at the property (after applying as a non-smoker) and the fact that his dog was trashing the beautifully landscaped back yard. The response from LiveIn and Tamara was “oh, that’s a shame” and no activity.

In May LiveIn performed a routine inspection of the property and it took me until July (and numerous requests by email and phone) to get a copy of it – everything was ticked as being OK and the property inspector (not Tamara or Erik) drew a little smiley face at the bottom. Sweet, I though, and left it at that.

Later in July I happened to be going past the property and had the opportunity to look into the back yard – the whole yard was completely trashed by the dog!!!

It took me until September to finally get hold of Tamara (it turns out that she and Erik were away having a fabulous overseas holiday for 3 months) and we did an inspection of the property together. The house reeked of cigarette smoke, was quite dirty, some things had been broken, and the back yard was destroyed.

Since September it’s been an ongoing struggle with LiveIn, with me having to monitor and drive the process of rectifying the problems, almost daily because otherwise – in my experience – Tamara disappears again for weeks. The tenant has finally been evicted (although we’re still trying to get him to actually leave) and a tribunal application has been made to recover costs for damages.

Last week I received an email from Tamara giving me 30 days’ notice of the termination of our agency agreement. As others have said before me – yet another example of LiveIn being great until something goes wrong or they don’t think they’re going to get any more business from you. Then they either disappear or bail out.

I don’t actually care that Tamara wants to end the management agreement; it’s probably a good outcome for us all, given my experience of them since September 2010. What I do want is that LiveIn make up for not acting in April, as they needed to after I flagged problems with them, by getting me successfully through the tribunal process and helping me recover costs for repairs – which, incidentally, amount to over $8k. The process is obviously going to take longer than the 30 days’ notice she’s given me – how convenient for Tamara, Erik and LiveIn.

2604 8:35 pm 13 Oct 10

a lot is two words said :

I was one of the +1s above for LiveIn. Having had my tenants break the lease, smoke in the house, put dog hair throughout my property, leave the house filthy (not dirty, filthy) and countless other issues, I have to reverse my comments and say they have treated my property and me with complete disregard. They couldn’t care less that the tenants broke the lease and damaged the property, left a dirty mattress, ruined furnishings and the list goes on. Very disappointing as I also thought they were a breath of fresh air in a stale property management market. I guess it’s only up until something goes wrong or they don’t think they’re going to get any more business from you.

I’m sorry to hear that.

Yet another reason to manage it yourself, or (dare I say) avoid investing in property in the first place.

a lot is two words 4:59 pm 13 Oct 10

I was one of the +1s above for LiveIn. Having had my tenants break the lease, smoke in the house, put dog hair throughout my property, leave the house filthy (not dirty, filthy) and countless other issues, I have to reverse my comments and say they have treated my property and me with complete disregard. They couldn’t care less that the tenants broke the lease and damaged the property, left a dirty mattress, ruined furnishings and the list goes on. Very disappointing as I also thought they were a breath of fresh air in a stale property management market. I guess it’s only up until something goes wrong or they don’t think they’re going to get any more business from you.

ErikTyler 1:44 pm 09 Apr 10

CoffinRX2;

Firstly, I know for a fact that if you applied for a property a few years ago, you would have dealt exclusively with Tamara – and I know she would never, ever say that your application wasn’t forwarded to the owner.

For the purposes of this message, I would like to highlight the Anti Discrimination Act, and the grounds for which discrimination can be sought;

(a) sex;
(b) sexuality;
(c) gender identity;
(d) relationship status;
(e) status as a parent or carer;
(f) pregnancy;
(g) breastfeeding;
(h) race;
(i) religious or political conviction;
(j) disability;
(k) industrial activity;
(l) age;
(m) profession, trade, occupation or calling;

As an agency, we submit all applications to the owner, and they ultimately make their decision based on their preference for tenant. If an owner tells us not to accept an application based on any of the above points, we have an office policy to firstly inform the owner that they cannot discriminate, and if this does not work, we cease our relationship with that owner (which we have done in the past).

Secondly, when we submit applications to a landlord, we do thorough reference checks – this covers your previous rental properties, and also involves speaking with your previous property managers (or private landlords), as well as assessing your ability to pay the rent.

I don’t know your name, so I obviously can’t comment on the suitability of your application for the property – but I’m 100% positive that if you were rejected, you would have been rejected due to another application being stronger than yours, or negative feedback from your previous property manager. Generally when tenants are rejected for a property, it breeds resentment to the property manager, which is obviously what has happened with you. Most tenants are mature enough to understand that the rental market is competitive (such as with any market where demand outstrips supply), but some hold a grudge.

If you seriously believe that you were discriminated against, I would suggest you contact the Office of Fair Trading and lodge a formal complaint.

CoffinRX2 11:09 pm 31 Mar 10

Then that would have the landlord acting in a discriminatory manner?

It’s ok, I recently just bought my own house and have my old housemates living with me paying me rent. … there were a couple of properties which Livein had while I was looking, and as a matter of principal I didnt even inspect them

Ceej1973 7:43 pm 31 Mar 10

….. Last time i remember, applicants are only meant to be assessed on their ability to care for the property and the ability to pay rent, .. so I do believe we were discriminated against.

CoffinRX2, The Landlord has the final say in any rental decision, unless the Landlord has told the Agent “rent it out to anyone, its just an investment property anyway”. When I rented out our property which is normally our primary residence, we had applicants who were smokers, dog owners and groups. The Agent asked my opinion, and I said, no,no and no. I am sure you can understand it is not descrimination, it is the decision of the property owner who usually has there investment at stake. I am sure you can also understand that if you were to own a pimped up valuable Mazda RX2 you wouldnt agree to “lend” it to a complete stranger, who wanted a change from their Hyundai Exel until they too could afford an RX2.

ThatGuy 4:24 pm 31 Mar 10

@CoffinRX2 in general group houses are some of the hardest tenants to manage. While this isn’t the case all the time, it is often enough to warrant a lot of landlords telling their agents to simply ignore groups. While I feel for you and it makes renting in Canberra difficult it is simply a sad fact you need to deal with. I won’t go into the multitude of issues that group houses present but suffice it to say that 8 out of 10 group houses cause nothing but issues.

Before you start trolling away, I’m well aware that there are bad tenants from all walks of life. My suggestion would be to get a partner and a public service badge then come back and watch the doors open for you.

CoffinRX2 8:03 pm 30 Mar 10

Erik,

I applied to rent a place from your company a couple of years ago with two friends of mine. we were treated like scum from the leasing agent, and when we were declined a tenancy we were told that “we didnt forward your application to the landlord as you applied as a group house” ….. Last time i remember, applicants are only meant to be assessed on their ability to care for the property and the ability to pay rent, .. so I do believe we were discriminated against.

also 70mil in 4 years? .. wow, im pretty sure Independent Property would do that in a day on one of their apartment releases.

all_stars 10:35 am 25 Mar 10

Ceej1973 said :

+1 from me to that Real Estate Manager that “features in City News”. Have had nothing but fast responces/maintenance actioned, from myself (Landlord) and the Tenant (yes we are in contact) when there has been an issue with our property.

My understanding of how weekly rent is calculated is as Erik and other Property Manager posters have written. All I did was ask!

As for bad Agents, I would advise to stay well clear of Richard Luton. Richard Luton himself is a useless Manager/Proprieter, and if you ever come across Carmen Hargreaves who used to Manage for him, then stear well clear of her too. Both said, had no time to action a major property issue (I being the Tenant)that I tried to have resolved over a 3 month period. Then when I took them to the Tenancy Tribunal, they didnt even bother turning up to the hearing. I have heard of 4 other stories from freinds who either worked with Carmel or rented with her and were extremely bad experiences with Richard Luton and the two forsaid Managers.

Something dodgy going on at Richard Lutton. We applied for a house and naturally are prepared to sign a lease and start paying rent sooner rather than later – yes that means for 1 week we will have double rent – the property manager found this difficult to grasp & seems to think we should give notice where we are before we even have a new place to live.

bsdjdct 12:01 am 25 Mar 10

I have to thank everyone!!!

We also have had a number of problems with our current ‘property manager’ and ‘landlord’, and have decided to move. Their loss I guess. Today we got offered a property, beating out 8 other applications, which goes to prove we are great tenants!!

Coincidently enough, both our previous and current Agents, even though not owned by the same person, were from the same franchise. Red and white in Queanbeyan and the Gungahlin Agent were red and white and have changed over to the agency – First N****al…. and are ‘blue’, if you get my drift.

The problem I mentioned as the lead in for this discussion, was just the tip of the ice berg, in both properties. Currently our problems include:
– being mislead by our current property manager before leasing, as to where the ‘landlords’ daughter was going to live in our townhouse complex, once it was finished and tenants started to move in. She lives directly next to us, when we were told she wouldn’t. The manager even lied telling us she was very quiet and at Uni. Bulls*t!!!
– having problems with the daughter (and her 5 housemates) – with them smoking in the court yard which leaks into our home. We can’t open any windows and have to continually shut the house up, we can’t even leave our bedroom window open of a night/ continual parties every weekend/ being parked in by her friends, cigarette butts and rappers thrown over into our yard. When we’ve previously made a complaint an egg was thrown at our bedroom window. The Agent never returned our calls regarding this or any matter (maybe because we’ve had 4 property managers in the last 6 months). The smoking coming from the 10 plus friends she has over every weekend has gotten so bad we don’t let our 4 year old son play outside because he has asthma.
– access issues, one Saturday morning we received a call directly from the landlord asking if they could enter our property to install a lock (cheap sh*t). We were told for 6 months we wouldn’t be getting a lock instead a secruity door would be installed. Of course no one was home so we said no. The property manager, later that day, asked that if and when the ‘landlord’ decided to return and install the lock would we ‘deny’ access ‘again’. Of course we said no, if we were at home and were given adequate notice (we really needed the lock as the current lock was a door handle which our son could open with ease giving us no secruity). It only took them 9 months to install it.
– When applying for the property it was listed as 370 -400 per week. We put an offer in at 400. Within 7 months the rent was put up by $30. Apparently they can do that in Queanbeyan. And no it didn’t seem to be in line with other properties (most expensive by far), but the ‘landlord’s’ increasing expenses (like his new $70,000 car) was the reason the rent needed to increase. Ok, by the NSW Act (I double checked).

Again, this is just an outline of some of our key problems. We’ve tried speaking to the agents with no luck. Instead we get treated like second class citizens.
We’re made many complains about the problem with the ‘landlords’ daughter, even being approached by the ‘landlord’ while walking in the front door of our house to be told she wouldn’t be any problem in the future. SUPRISE – nothing’s changed.
We felt violated after being approached and slightly bullied. We approached the Agent, again with no luck. The Agent took and continues to take personal offence at everything, every time anything is mentioned,being extremely argumentative, so we don’t bother anymore. We don’t want to get into an argument or end up having any negative backlash that could affect us obtaining another property.
We are now counting down the days until we move, and hope the current ‘Agents/Property Managers’ and ‘landlord’ end up with a terrible tenant!!!

A database, similar to the one they keep on tenants, would be useful so this doesn’t happen to the next tenant!

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